Recently, the Federal Maritime Commission (“FMC”) in the US announced that Commissioner Louis E. Sola will lead a new fact-finding investigation, working with key industry stakeholders in the passenger cruise line sector, called Fact Finding No. 30. The investigation seeks to identify commercial measures which passenger cruise lines can adopt to mitigate COVID-19 related impacts.

“Fact Finding 30 is an effort to determine the economic stability of the cruise lines,” said Sola. “When we talk about the ‘cruise industry’, we tend to think of the ship and vessel operator, but there is an exhaustive list of American citizens and businesses who rely on the work they do for the cruise lines.

In the course of the Fact Finding No. 30 investigation, Sola will be gathering information and data related to COVID-19 challenges, engaging with cruise industry stakeholders and maritime-related COVID-19 task forces about solutions that have been developed to address COVID-19-related issues, and establishing at least one team of leaders from the cruise industry, as well as other stakeholders, to develop commercial solutions to the challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The cruise industry plays a unique role in the American economy…” said Sola. “Collectively, its direct supply chain spends billions of dollars in the United States annually. The cruise industry is also an important contributor to the financial health of seaports across the country through the payment of port fees covering berthing, security, customs and immigration, harbor pilotage, and other port logistical services such as longshore labor.”

No one federal agency has exclusive or comprehensive authority over cruise lines. The Federal Maritime Commission’s jurisdiction over the cruise industry, however, does extend to define the financial responsibilities of cruise lines for non-performance of transportation.

“The sooner cruise companies are able to resume operations and provide certainty to the public about the lines’ financial security, the sooner we can bring stability to enterprises and communities that rely on the cruise industry for their livelihoods. I am confident that the fact finding will identify useful commercial measures industry can take to achieve those goals.”

The above is a summary of one or more news stories reviewed by the author of this article. It may contain comments or views of the author only. This article is intended for general interest and does not constitute legal advice.

Have you or a member of your family been diagnosed with coronavirus while at sea? If so, we at the Herd Law Firm, PLLC would be happy to speak with you about your situation and whether you have claims to pursue. If you are a passenger or crewmember who contracted coronavirus or was injured while on a vessel on navigable waters, you may have a claim. Contact our firm for a free discussion and evaluation today.

Image Source: U.S. Federal Maritime Commission

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